After year of recruiting, training, plotting, Fidel was ready to launch his revolutionary offensive. “His rebel ‘army’ consisted of less than 200 men, and two women;” (Huberman 1960: 28) the group consisted of students or graduates, and nearly all of them were young people like himself and his brother, Raúl. Most of them were “politically active, articulate and impatient young men who had been drawn to the radical movements or to the ardently reformist Orthodox Party of Eduardo Chibas.” (Macgaffey 1962: 275)
The rebels gathered outside Santiago, in the Fidel’s native Province of Oriente where they could launch an attack on Moncada Barracks, the army’s second largest military installation. (Huberman 1960: 28; Macgaffey 1962: 275) The attack was slated for July 26, 1953, at dawn, during the annual carnival celebration. (McCormick 1998: 67) “With the carnival in full sway, Castro expected the military to have its guard down.” (Leonard 1999: 9)
At dawn of July 26, they divided into small groups to launch the assault, each group with specific objectives. The first intention was to “take by the surprise and capture the Fort Moncada, and take machine guns, tanks, armored trucks, up-to-date rifles and ammunition.” (Huberman 1960: 28) They could then seize radio stations, (Hampsey 2002: 95) and
“They were to announce a revolution based on ‘Creole values,’ (Goldenberg 1965: 151) led by new men ... free of all obstacles with foreign nations and ... of appetites of politicians. They promised welfare and economic prosperity, social justice, respect for other nations, and respect for the constitution.” (Macgaffey 1962: 275, 276)
“Such publicity was designed to call the people to revolt against the dictator, Batista,” (Hampsey 2002: 95) “giving an impression of an army uprising by Orthodox Officers, which in turn would paralyze the army” (Leonard 1999: 9) Undercut from his main prop of support, Batista would then be forced to resign voluntarily, and the Orthodox Party would vault into political power. (Leonard 1999: 9)
“In reality, Fidel Castro failed to consult the party, informing it of his intended actions only a day before the assault on Moncada.” (Leonard 1999: 9) The attack was made; other rebels managed to enter the barracks and overpowered the guards. However, “Some of the rebels were killed on the spot, others were captured and horribly tortured, put in jail to wait trial or murdered in cold blood” (Huberman 1960: 28) Other rebels including Fidel Castro and his brother, Raúl fled to the mountains. (Hampsey 2002: 94)
Within the high army ranks, orders were given privately to their men that leader of the rebels that Fidel Castro was not to be taken alive. (Huberman 1960: 29) Ironically, “Lieutenant Pedro Sarria, who had been a student at the University of Havana when Castro was active, happened to be the head of the army patrol that discovered Fidel in the foot hills of Sierra.” (Huberman 1960: 29) Lieutenant Sarria whispered in...